Forests and food
Alternative energy is something that Boston-based Edjoodelky Louis has taken up as a cause as well. Being Haitian and a chef, Louis is acutely aware of the food security dilemma in his homeland. Like Andrés, he has also sought to use the prism of food to focus efforts to serve Haitians outside of his traditional role as a chef. His organization, Reforest Haiti, is an initiative that promotes environmental stewardship and speaks to Andrés’ urgency in breaking the charcoal chain of cutting down trees for cooking fuel. “It’s important that we understand how the chronic energy shortage affects food systems,” said Louis in a telephone interview.
On the surface, reforestation would seem to have nothing in common with cooking food, but, as Louis says, it is actually the intersection of many development challenges in Haiti. “Massive deforestation is the result of a reliance on wood as fuel, which has resulted in catastrophic erosion occurring on the island.”
“Pursuing other humanitarian initiatives doesn’t do you any good if you can’t feed yourself,” said Louis. “Deforestation affects our ability to achieve food security. Imported rice has become the only cereal diet for most Haitians because other crops can’t grow or it’s too expensive to grow them.”..